This New York Times article by David Barboza suggests that China "aims to become the world’s civil engineer" through its involvement in the construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

"Modularization" is a construction delivery system that is gaining increased national attention in both the industrial and commercial construction economy.  Dealing with modularization in this country will require new forms of contracts between parties that have not previously worked together in direct contractual relationships.

The assembly work in California, and the pouring of the concrete road surface, will be done by Americans. But construction of the bridge decks and the materials that went into them are a Made in China affair. California officials say the state saved hundreds of millions of dollars by turning to China.

Barboza’s article deals with modularization of heavy industrial projects in China for delivery elsewhere, which leads to his suggestion that China is aiming to become the Civil Engineer for the world.  If you read between the lines, you can gather that many American bridge fabricators believe the above project could have been built faster, for less money, and with better quality in the United States.  This will be a debate worth following, as Chinese companies have won numerous other steel contracts in New York City. 

Hat tip to David Ratterman for pointing out this article to me.

Image: dsleeter_2000